Parmesan Spinach Orzo is a quick and easy side dish made on the stove-top. The end result is like a rich, creamy risotto, without the constant stirring. Preparation time plus cooking time is less than 30 minutes, so it is the perfect side dish to make while your main dish is cooking.
At first glance, this may seem like way too much fresh spinach. However, once you stir it in, it wilts down to almost nothing. Use a large saucepan as noted in the directions.
Parmesan Spinach Orzo Recipe
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 cup orzo pasta
1 cup strong chicken stock (see Notes)
1 cup heavy cream or whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces fresh spinach
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (see Notes)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mince the onion and press the garlic. Remove the stems from the spinach and tear any large leaves in half. (This may seem like a lot of spinach, but it wilts down into a much smaller amount when added.) Set aside.
In a 3-quart saucepan (see Notes), melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onions until limp and translucent. Add in the garlic and orzo, and stir for 30 seconds. Mix in the chicken broth, heavy cream or milk, kosher salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the Parmesan cheese and a third of the spinach, folding into the mixture. As the spinach wilts down, continue adding the rest until it is all in and wilted.
Remove from heat, taste for seasoning, and serve.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• I prefer to mix my own chicken broth from bouillon paste or granules to control the strength. Heat the water before adding the bouillon so it mixes well.
• Please use fresh-grated Parmesan cheese if at all possible. It really makes a difference over the shelf-stable stuff and is actually cheaper. I buy a wedge and use my microplane. I can grate a cup in less than a minute.
• The 3-quart saucepan may seem too large, but you will thank me later when you are stirring in the fresh spinach.
Parmesan Spinach Orzo Recipe Photo ©2020 Peggy Filippone